Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Auditing, Revealing and Promoting Industry in the London Borough of Southwark

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Abstract:  Renewed enthusiasm surrounds the potential for urban industry and its contribution to the socioeconomic diversity of cities, despite concerns about the loss of industrial uses, land, and buildings in high-value, post-industrial cities. Yet, industry is often hidden and undervalued, and methodologies to change the culture around nurturing industry in cities have not been well explored. As a first step in moving this agenda forward, this article proposes effective ways to reveal industrial uses and to advocate for policy protections of the land they occupy. It examines how London Metropolitan University’s School of Art, Architecture and Design (AAD) Cities action researchers applied their Audit, Reveal and Promote methodology to Southwark, a London borough with a high concentration of urban industry. There are key aspects to revealing industrial economies: collecting accurate data on the ground, showcasing local businesses, building stakeholder networks through mutual trust, and creating a space of possibilities between vertical hierarchical and grassroots power networks to enable stakeholders to participate in urban change. This article presents a methodology for cultural change towards valuing a mix of uses, including industry, to transform land development towards retention and densification of industry.

Keywords:  action research; industrial economy; methodology; New Southwark Plan; participatory research; policy protection; Old Kent Road; stakeholder engagement; sustainable development; urban planning



© Jane Clossick, Mark Brearley. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.